Inserting items into left and right columns

As well as the main column of the website, you can insert text and images into the left and right columns – ‘page extras’. These are done with something called a ‘widget’.


Snippets are little bits of text that can be dropped into the columns. For example – the Download Link for application forms, the dark blue Useful Links boxes, quotes in the right hand column. These are all kept in a separate group, Snippets, in the left hand menu in the Admin area. Clicking on here is the only way to access this content. They are edited and created like ordinary posts.

Snippets are good for bits of text that are called in to more than one page, or for special links.

Inserting snippets and images columns

We use the Post Widget to place an item – an image or snippet – in certain editable areas of the page. The Useful Links box in the left column of the website view of this page is made with this widget. View this in the Admin area and find the Custom Fields box to see how it’s done…

In the Custom Fields box underneath the editing window, select the drop down menu under Name and choose the area you want to drop your snippet into. You can drop things into:

  • Left hand mini column – ‘left’ – for images, logos, info boxes and downloads
  • Right hand column – ‘right’ – for events adverts and random quotes
  • Certain special areas on the homepage – ‘home’, ‘extra’ and ‘head’ all effect objects on the home page and page template

In the example above, a Useful Links box is dropped into the left column. Choose ‘left-0-post’ from the list. ‘Left’ is the area we are dropping the item into, ‘0’ is the order of the item in this area (0 is first, 1 is inserted underneath, etc), ‘post’ is the name of the widget we are using.

Now we need to specify which item (snippet) we want displayed. First, we need to enter its ID number. WordPress assigns a number to everything – pages, posts, images etc – for easy access. If you look at Available items to insert on the right side of the editing window, you’ll see a drop-down menu of ‘Snippets’ or ‘Images’ – click one and find the item you want. (This list is a reference for the IDs assigned to each snippet you have made, so clicking on one won’t do anything – just read the number.)

Note: You can also find this number in the URL shown in the address bar of your browser when you have opened up a post/snippet/image or hovered over it. The URL address ends with something like ‘?action=edit&post=355&message=1’. The number following ‘post=’ is the ID number you need.

Now you need to put this information into the Value box for the custom field you’ve selected. Type in ‘ids=’ and then add the number for the item. You can add several item IDs, separated by commas, if you want to insert several items with the same styles or sizes. Then…

Press return to start a new line, and type ‘style=’. The next words to type here will determine the visual look for the box. Options are:

  • download – creates the button if it is an application for download link. Download buttons should always go at the top of the column (ie: have number ‘0’ in their custom field name)
  • box usefullinks – for the ‘useful links’ box
  • box extra1 – for the boxes with additional information in.
      Press return to start a new line, and type pic_size=. You will need to enter ‘medium’ here to get the image version that is 200px wide. (See ‘Using images’ on how to edit images. If you use a larger size it will break the site.

      • You can also specify the picture to be a link by adding a line of ‘link=/whateverthelinkis’
      • Or add a caption with ‘caption=”Whatever the caption is”

      After these lines have been entered, click on Add Custom Field. There will be a yellow flash and then the item should appear. To edit these, change the code as you need it (eg: you might want to change the item to a different one, so change the ID number) and press Update.

      Important things to know

      Each time you add a different snippet, you need to increase the order number in the middle of the name from the previous one. To change order of inserted items, change that number.

      Child pages will inherit inserted items from parent pages unless they are replaced by a new one on that specific page. So a Useful Links box inserted into the ‘About’ parent page will also appear on all the sub pages in the ‘About’ section, unless something else has been specified at that name and number.

      As an example, the random quotes have a custom field of right-0-random. They are called in on the parent page of the Full-Time section, and you will not see them listed in the custom fields of the children pages BUT they are appearing on them on the website.

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